Japanese Pitcher Murata to Start for Indians

Toru Murata was a first round pick of the Yomiuri Giants in 2007. He played for three years in the Giants minor league system before they released him (2-10 with an ERA of about 4.54). That gave him an opportunity to be a free agent and he signed with the Cleveland Indians in December of 2010 for the miniscule price of $30,000.

He has lived in the minor leagues since then, pitching also in the Panama and Venezuelan winter leagues. The numbers have not been pretty with a AAA ERA of 4.32, but this year he is 5-3, 2.79 in 14 games. Perhaps he has figured it out at age 30. Toru will be pitching as the 26th man in a double header and will probably be sent back down after that start. But he will now say he made his major league debut after the NPB gave up on him.

He throws strikes, does not have a blazing fastball, but throws a multitude of pitches (cutter, curve, change and fork). The down side is he gives up a lot of fly balls so it may be difficult for him to keep it in the park. But he gets his opportunity and if he achieves success another opportunity will arise.

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